Let’s be clear, I’ve never been one for sport. I look like I’m having a fit and drowning when I do backstroke, I can’t catch or throw even the largest netball ball and if I hit a tennis ball, it’s always an absolute fluke.
In fact, I sucked so bad at every single sport that my junior school offered that, as participating in at least one sport was compulsory, my gym teacher made me timekeeper. That’s right. The only thing I could be trusted to do was operate a stop watch.
But at the beginning of last year, after a particularly rough few months in which I lost my job and my relationship broke up and, in a lot of ways, lost sight of myself, I decided to do something I’d always attempted with gym contracts (that I never used). I decided to get fit.
I’ve been doing yoga on and off since 2006, but 2013 was the year I committed to my body and my fitness in a way I never had. I like food, so fuck the diet aspect of getting a healthy body, ain’t nobody coming between me and carbs, banting for what?!
But I did decide to start treating my body with a little more love – and by love I mean torturing myself two-three times a week with fitness tutorials from YouTube (PopSugar Fitness is the best channel I’ve found so far).
Lesson 1: You will feel like shit
You’re gonna hurt, pant, hurt some more, huff and puff, groan and suffer through workouts. Definitely for the first few months and probably even after that when you up your game and graduate to a longer workout. When I started I felt like I was dying after doing 10 minutes of cardio or strength training. My lungs hurt. I was a sweaty beast and my face was all puce and unattractive.
But, it go better. Now I only get to that ugly stage of sweating after 30 minutes. And my body only feels like it’s falling apart for two days afterwards, unlike before when it would be pain for four days. Unless I’ve done burpees. Because burpees are the devil’s work.
Lesson 2: Working out with others isn’t so bad
This past December I started doing yoga in a class again – which is an amazing experience after practising alone in my flat for so long. Being with other people challenges you to push yourself further than you would have. And then your teacher will also make you do ridiculous things like balance your legs (and thus all your body weight) on your arms while trying not to fall face first into the ground. And you know what? You can probably do it. You just gotta trust in your body. Also, if you fall on your face, well, hopefully you hit the mat instead of the floor.
Lesson 3: Fitness is not a straight line
Some days are better than others. Some days I can pump the crap out of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. Other days I do two rounds and then lie of the floor and listen to the peppy folk on YouTube as they do four more rounds yelling encouragements of “You’ve got this! Don’t give up now.” Not every day is a good day. But, as they say in yoga, as long as you show up to your mat, that’s all that matters. Five minutes is better than no minutes. I’m sure there’s a hashtag in this motivational shit somewhere.
Lesson 4: Not everything is for you
I’d love to be a runner. I love that freedom of being able to put on a pair of trainers and pound all your emotions into the tar. But I can’t run. I mean, of course I can put one foot in front of the other at a reasonable speedy pace, but my hips, they’re not going to have any part of this. They’ll hurt and rebel and complain and resist every moment for days after I’ve attempted to coax them into the joys of running. It’s just not meant to be. So instead of forcing my body to do things that hurt it (and not the good hurt of tired muscles), I’ve found things that my body can do. And make my body feel better.
I’ve made progress this year. Occasionally I tell my mom to check out my guns (seriously), friends have said I look trimmer, and I feel better in my own skin than I have in years. And if there’s one resolution I’m making for this year, it’s to continue my commitment to my body and my journey.
And to never do another fucking burpee.
Main image: someecards.com